How to set-up a Woodlice Colony

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How to Look After a Pet Woodlouse

Four Parts:

Have you ever wondered how to look after a woodlouse? Without sufficient care, they may die within 24 hours from being eaten by predators or not given the right housing. Make an effort and care for them properly by using these suggestions and learn about these fascinating little pill-bugs.


Making a Home for the Woodlouse

Jar Home

  1. Find a suitable jar or tall plastic container for your woodlouse and make sure there are no ways for the woodlouse to escape.
  2. Cover the top of the jar or container with thick tissue or foil and make a few tiny holes in it.Attach the foil or tissue to the jar or container with an elastic band.
  3. Consider using wood chips for a substrate.
  4. Make sure your woodlouse is healthy and put the jar or container somewhere dark and damp.

Shoebox Home

  1. Get an old shoebox.Go out into the woods or garden and dig up some soil and put it in the shoebox.
  2. Add lots of small, damp pieces of wood, bark or twigs.Don't get the box itself too damp as it might go soggy and become insecure.

Adding a Woodlouse or Woodlice

  1. Get one woodlouse or several woodlice from outdoors.Your best bet to find them is picking up rocks and logs and looking underneath.
    • Don't get slugs; they put slime everywhere and sometimes escape.

Caring for the Woodlice

  1. Feed the woodlouse a little lettuce now and then.
  2. Feed the woodlouse once a week with one dried leaf or moldy piece of wood.
  3. Keep on adding more soil, bark and some more woodlice, as desired.You will eventually have made a predator-free habitat for woodlice.
  4. Keep the woodlice cool.On hot days if you keep them outside place a cool stone or pebble into their container so they can keep damp and cool.
  5. Add plant life.These guys might like a few small low maintenance plants in their container to keep the air clean. Make sure there is plenty.

Breeding Woodlice

  1. Breed the woodlice.If you would like two woodlice to mate, collect two in the spring or fall. However, if mating is successful, you will have to let the male (usually the bigger woodlouse) go.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Does the box have to be clear/see-through?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Not necessarily. If you want to see the woodlouse though, you might want to get a transparent box. Otherwise, it should be fine. Just make sure to check it every day!
  • Question
    What is a woodlouse's favorite thing?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    They usually have a diet of rotting plant material, such as sticks and leaves.
  • Question
    Can I provide any type of soil for the woodlouse?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No. Make sure there are no pesticides, baby predators or ways they can get stuck.
  • Question
    How do you let the woodlice drink?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Woodlice, like many other insects, get their water from their food. Consider spraying them with water to add moisture.
  • Question
    Why do I have to let the male woodlice go?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You need to do this because they will attack/eat the babies,and what would be the point of breeding them if they just die straight away?
  • Question
    Can you keep the male in a separate container until the babies grow up?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
  • Question
    Where can I get wood chips for a woodlouse?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can get wood chips from pet shops, get rabbit wood shavings or hamster bedding.
  • Question
    What will happen if I keep the male inside the jar when the female gives birth?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The male will attack/eat the babies.
  • Question
    Why do you feed it once a week? Why not once a day?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    They're bugs, they don't eat much. They eat decomposing plant matter, so you don't need to worry about it spoiling, just leave it in there.
  • Question
    What does "mate" mean?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    To mate means to have babies.
Unanswered Questions
  • How do I look after pet woodlice in a large container?
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  • Jam jars and long Tupperware boxes are just the right size to keep your pet in.
  • You can tell it is a female as there is a small pouch and there it will keep its offspring.
  • Find some brown, dry leaves. They love these.
  • Try to put other little critters in there so the woodlouse does not get bored. However, be certain that these are not predators of the woodlouse.
  • The woodlouse lives for two years and some even up to four years, so be kind. Feed him for a few days then let him go.
  • Woodlice like a lot of dark mud and light twigs.


  • If you don't feed your woodlouse it might die after 2 weeks.
  • Don't use a shovel when collecting; you may injure woodlice or any other creatures.
  • Always put holes in the lid of your jar.
  • Don't let the woodlice escape into your house as they may lay eggs.
  • Don't go digging up any old place – ask for permission first.

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Liv Scott

7 days ago

"My woodlouse is settling in extremely well. Thank you, wikiHow!"

Grace Masters

Jun 17

"It was amazing; now my wood lice Tiana and Timmy are very happy in their new environment. "

Jackie Nunns

Oct 22, 2019

"Two woodlice kept returning to our Spanish apartment, even though we put them out into a nicer environment. Wekilled one accidentally and wanted to know if the pair were mates. We learned a lot, including how to tell male from female. Thanks."

Olivia Harris

Apr 4, 2019

"This helped me very much, as my sister and I like to keep wood lice as pets. We did not know how to take care ofthem until we saw this article. Now our wood lice are very happy. "

Chrissie Bate

Oct 8, 2019

"Great advice, can't wait to buy my woodlice from the shop tomorrow (that way I can keep them forever because theyaren't wild)."


Jul 9, 2019

"This is great! I hope my baby woodlouse I found grows up strong and lives a long time. "

Rayan Lais

Aug 23, 2019

"It was the best on the Internet and it was very easy to understand."

B. T.

Video: How to take care of a woodlice colony - 2.0

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Date: 12.12.2018, 06:23 / Views: 64193